Everybody wants their ads to show in the best location possible, so where could be better than showing up above the organic search results? That’s why it is important to understand as an online advertiser, how Google decides which ads appear above search results.
We all know that Quality Score is factored into an ad’s AdRank when appearing on the right hand side, but did you also know it is factored in for the ads above the search results as well? It is…and more heavily than you think.
Getting Your Ad to Appear Above the Search Results
There are two important points to consider when it comes to having your ad appear above the search results.
- The threshold AdRank, which varies by keyword
- The weight applied to the Quality Score piece of the AdRank formula
When it comes to ads appearing above the search results, Google implements a threshold AdRank that each ad’s AdRank must surpass in order to appear above the search results. This threshold AdRank is different for each keyword, and it remains unknown to advertisers.
When Google’s system is calculating the minimum threshold AdRank for an ad to be shown above the search results, it is weighing the Quality Score piece more heavily than the Max CPC Bid piece.
WARNING! The following algebraic description gets very nerdy, read with caution!
The general formula for AdRank in AdWords is well known.
Ad Rank = CPC bid × Quality Score
How does Quality Score factor into placement above search results? The weight Google applies to the Quality Score piece in the AdRank formula could be written as (1+w), while the weight Google applies to the Max CPC Bid piece in the same formula could be written as (1-w) where w = the weight value known only to Google.
Ad Rank for Premium Placement = (CPC bid x (1 – w)) × (Quality Score x (1 + w))
Rotating the Top Ads
Google then implements a rotation for all of the ads that exceed the AdRank threshold. There are only 3 ad spots available above organic listings per page. So, how does Google rotate ads if there are 4 ads that exceed the threshold? It’s simple: Google would show the top 3 ads exceeding the threshold on the first page above the search results. On the second page Google would repeat the 4th best ad and rotate in that ad but put it in the top position above the search results. Google would then continue to rotate the same top 4 ads that ranked above the threshold in that manner on the remaining results pages.
Increasing Your Quality Score
So, now I will bet you’re asking “what can I do to increase my Quality Score so I can show up above the search results?” Well, here are a few things you can do:
- Make sure your keyword is relevant to the ads in its ad group
- Write ad copy relevant to each ad group’s theme
- Make sure your keyword and matched ad are both relevant to the search query
- Increase the quality of your landing page
Note, Google is looking for 3 components in a quality page:
- Relevant and Original Content
By Laureen Hoeft
Paid Search Manager